According to Urban Dictionary, (yes, I think that at times, it can be considered an accurate source), there are two wings of “millennial” that are often at odds with each other: Generation Y, people born between 1981-1991, and Generation Z, people born between 1991-2001. Both Generation Y and Generation Z can be called “Millennials,” with the primary difference between the two being technology. Generation Y (my generation) grew up on personal computers, cell phones and video game systems. Generation Z has been attached to tablets, smartphones and apps since birth. While neither likes to be “lumped in” with the other, both generations are transforming and altering communication and identity all over the world. These changes directly effect how companies and associations are (and should be) marketing to millennials.
There are a lot of facts and statistics around millennials. A lot. While sorting through them, two of them resonated with me and how they relate to associations and how associations should be marketing to millennials. These statistics are based on both Generation Y and Z.
63% of millennials stay updated on brands through social networks
Translation: If your association is targeting millennials and you aren’t on social media, then you aren’t targeting millennials.
Millennials actively look for their brands using social media. Even if the largest portion of your membership doesn’t necessarily use social media, your association should be present and active on some outlets in order to engage the millennial audience. (NOTE: This of course does not apply to associations who seek out its own members who must meet a certain number of requirements before joining.)
48% of Millennials are more influenced by word-of-mouth recommendations
Translation: If someone they respect says they like it/bought it/have it/joined it-they will too.
I definitely do this. If my friend recommends a restaurant, I try it. If someone I respect recommends a company, I apply there. I totally put more weight in personal recommendations than ads. There are several ways this can be used.
1. Start a member testimonial program. Ask members for why they enjoy being a member of the association, what benefits they feel they receive from it, why they attend the annual meeting-anything that you know they love and repurpose it in to a social media image and quote (with the member’s permission of course) and then boost the post through your social media. You then reach those who the member knows as well as your followers and those who follow your followers-that’s a lot of following but word of mouth is still the number one form of advertising! You can also ask members to write blog posts or contribute to publications (outside of the one for members only) and promote the links to partner organizations, your social media, organizations/companies that your members belong to-anywhere. That is a great way to promote using your current membership to gain new members that will in turn be just as active and ready to volunteer where and when needed.
There are a lot more numbers and statistics regarding the topic of millennials so monitor the blog often as TMG covers this “ever so rare and exotic species in its natural habitat.”